Rivers United FC are the new champions of the Nigerian Professional Football League after clinching the 2021-22 edition title with three games to spare.
The Port Harcourt-based club were confirmed champions of Nigeria on Saturday after opening an unassailable lead at the top of the league table.
That is because second-placed Plateau United suffered a 2-1 defeat to Akwa United at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo which made it impossible to catch up on the league leaders.
Even though Rivers also suffered a defeat in the 35th match-day fixture on Sunday, losing to Nasarawa United on the road, it could not delay their league triumph.
Rivers lead the league standings with 71 points after 35 matches and they are followed by Plateau United who are on 61 points.
The ten-point difference with three matches left means Rivers United cannot be overtaken by the second-placed Plateau United.
This is the maiden league title success for the Pride of Rivers who will return to compete in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.
Rivers were founded in 2016 after the Rivers state government got permission to merge Dolphins FC and Sharks FC.
Both clubs were run by the state government and were facing financial difficulties which forced them into the merger.
The club finished second in the 2016 Nigerian League which qualified them for the 2017 CAF Champions League for the first time.
They made their second appearance in the Champions League in the last edition after finishing second in the 2020-21 campaign of the Nigerian Professional Football League.
Frederick Marfo is a sportswriter and social worker well known for his advocacy for equal chances and rights for all athletes, especially those with disabilities.